The Kentucky Transportation Center
Integrity. Dedication. Innovation. Efficiency. The Kentucky Transportation Center strives To provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound and fiscally responsible transportation system that delivers economic opportunity and enhances the quality of life in Kentucky. Now is the time for smarter and more rapid infrastructure development, and the Center is committed to providing transformative solutions to the most critical problems facing today’s transportation systems. Growing from a small research division founded in 1941, today The Kentucky Transportation Center is a vibrant hub of applied multidisciplinary transportation research. The Kentucky Transportation Center has built a strong partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet while continuously growing its client base by collaborating with other transportation agencies across the United States. Spread across 12 program areas housed on the University of Kentucky campus, the Center’s staff enjoys a strong and enduring relationship with the Department of Civil Engineering. The Kentucky Transportation Center’s multidisciplinary focus allows researchers to touch on every dimension of multimodal transportation. As the Center expands, it will continue to deliver practical solutions and disperse knowledge that will benefit how the public experiences and interacts with complex transportation systems.
Doug Kreis Named KTC Director
KTC welcomed Dr. Doug Kreis as Director on July 1, 2021. He succeeds Dr. Joseph Crabtree, who retired after serving as the Center’s Director since 2010. For over 20 years at the Center, Dr. Kreis has built up an expansive portfolio of interdisciplinary transportation research. He also brings nearly 15 years of experience in the construction industry. To learn more about Doug, read his bio here.
Doug Kreis may be contacted at (859) 544-0066 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evaluation of Guardrail Needs and Update of Guardrail Rating Program
In an attempt to reduce the number of roadway departure crashes, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) installs roadside barriers such as guardrail. KYTC’s Division of Maintenance is responsible for prioritizing guardrail installations based on available funding and safety concerns. The Cabinet established its guardrail rating program (GRP) in 1989 to identify and prioritize guardrail needs. Despite periodic updates, the existing program no longer aligned with the transportation industry’s safety guidelines and policies. KTC studied national and state guardrail best practices and reviewed AASHTO’s Roadside Design Guide, the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware, and the Highway Safety Manual to develop a new methodology for prioritizing guardrail installations. Researchers also did high-level reviews of guardrail programs at 23 state transportation agencies. The new GRP model focuses on two main factors: crash frequency and crash severity, with the goal of maximizing safety outcomes for roadway departure crashes. The new model also assigns more weight to clear zone and crash characteristics. KYTC is in the process of adopting the new GRP model to rank prospective guardrail projects. To aid this effort, KTC will provide KYTC personnel and district offices with the revised guardrail survey form so they can collect necessary data, as well as offer training sessions to KYTC personnel that describe the rationale for the new model.
Kentucky Traffic Safety Data Service (KTSDS)
Kentucky has made efforts to improve access to traffic records databases and tools. Improper use of data can result in poor analytical conclusions, waste of resources, and ultimately injury or even loss of life. There are strategies to convert traffic data into useful information that informs decision makers, consultants, state and local agencies, law enforcement groups, citizens groups, attorneys, and the media. Developing a Kentucky Traffic Safety Data Service (KTSDS) will not only increase the availability of data from the state’s six traffic record systems but will increase end user access to experts who have in-depth knowledge of the databases. When these experts work with end users, they can formulate a data query that satisfies the reason for the request. KTC has developed and will host a free traffic data service that enables end users to access an expert to conduct small studies and get answers to traffic safety problems. The KTSDS website will be marketed to the public, will document all queries, and will offer the results of 10-20 small traffic safety studies. The service eliminates the expense of contract services, allows correct data analysis and thus proper use of the results, and provides public awareness that expert data resources exist. – Traffic & Safety